The Art of Alternative Energy

he world faces an unprecedented crisis in energy production, global warming produced by hydro­carbon emissions, and shrinking non-renewable energy resources. This crisis has brought about des-truction of species and habitats, international conflict, economic instability, and population displace­ment. These issues will worsen as global warming increases and fossil fuel supplies decline. There exist viable technologies and solutions to the current and pending energy and environmental crisis.

The project group seeks to create a dialog around innovative solutions that would include the work of electronic artists and other creative thinkers. We will examine solutions and ideas through website, panel discussion, and community meetings for large-scale energy production with the focus on the pos­sibility of scaling production to the level of the local community and the individual.

The discussion may include transportation issues, but will primarily focus on the production and distribution of electrical power. Individuals participating in this dialog will include artists, technol­ogists, alternative energy users, individuals from the alternative energy industry, designers and architects, computer-networking experts, and sociologists. Some questions and topics for examination include:

How can artists and technologists work together to develop and promote alternative energy methodologies, concepts, uses, and implementation?

Zoning laws stipulate aesthetic criteria for construction within a community. Can artists, architects, contractors, et al. participate in developing aesthetically appropriate alternative energy construction that maintains the desires and in­te­gri­ty of a community?

Can artists work as activists creating awareness of the crisis of energy con­sump­tion and possible solutions?

In what ways can artists through activism bring together individuals interested in possibilities for rethinking energy con­sump­tion and production? Are there ways in which artists can initiate dialog between governmental agencies, local citizens, designers, engineers, and industry?

Can artists work to facilitate and help implement social strategies and ed­u­ca­tion for the use, design and implementation of alternative energy projects?

Electronic artists are consumers of energy as part of their practice. How can artists examine their use of energy resources toward conceptualizing al­tern­a­tive energies in the production and presentation of their work?

Can artists work with industry, designers, and researchers to develop research projects that promote and develop alternative energy?

What is the current state of renewable energy production technologies?

Can production of energy be localized to communities of producer/users, such as networking together homes that share their excess energy with others?

In what ways can communities structure, develop, and converse about local energy producing resources?

It is possible that movement toward a more sustainable energy environment will be incremental – slowly offsetting the use of fossil fuels. What kind of stra­te­gies and processes are possible for a substantial switch over to alternative and renewable energy in the near future? What would be a reasonable timeline for implementation?

Artists & Supporting Institutions Working With Alternative Energy

Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla. Artists.
An artist team whose wide-ranging practice is connected to issues of environmentalism, globalization and consumerism, relations of power and acts of resistance.

Ameila Amon & Wendy Brower. SolSpherica. Installation.
Public installation (since removed) of solar powered interactive sculptures at the Liberty Science Library.

Armory Center for the Arts. Armory Solar Project. Gallery.
Rooftop solar panels powers studio space, galleries and artworks.

Beyond Green: Toward a Sustainable Art @ iCI. Exhibition
A traveling show in 2006 which explored the influence of sustainable design on " an emerging generation of international artists who combine a fresh aesthetic sensibility with a constructively critical approach to the production, dissemination, and display of art.
Catalog .pdf | Press Release .pfd | Book @

Graham Chalcroft. Solar Stills Sculpture Project. Installation.
"The Project aims to develop community interest and awareness in solar still water purification through sculptural workshops, to produce designs and possibly completed stills in areas where they can be used in an ongoing manner."

Joaquin Fargas. Artist.
"A combination between Engineer and Artist." Interactive kinetic artwork using solar power and biospheres.

Free Soil. website.
An international hybrid collaboration of artists, activists, researchers and gardeners who take a participatory role in the transformation of the environment. "We believe art can be a catalyst for social awareness and positive change." Online museum.
A nonprofit, online museum of environmental art.

Newton & Helen Mayer Harrison. Artists.
"Leading pioneers of the eco-art movement." Faculty emeritus at University of California, San Diego

Chris Jordan. Artist
Photographer whose works include Intolerable Beauty: Portraits of American Mass Consumption and In Katrina's Wake: Portraits of Loss from an Unnatural Disaster

Kathleen Laziza & William Laziza. AC/DC Window. Installation.
Solar powered kinetic sculpture in Brooklyn, NY.

Learning Site. Website, artists collective.
Rikke Luther, Cecilia Wendt, Julio Castro, and Brett Bloom.
Works with resource materials and economies related to the specific situations where work has been carried out. Economic, environmental, labor, property rights,
and many other issues are investigated in tandem to produce a variety of perspectives.

Nils Norman. Interview.
Norman’s work demonstrates that the desire for alternative urban spaces and experiences—the renewal of the public realm—has definitely gone global.

Dan Peterman. Reclamation Project.
Conceptual artist Dan Peterman explores the fate of objects, the nature of borders, and the trajectory of obsession.

Marjetica Potrĉ. Artist.
Artist and architect based in Ljubljana, Slovenia. She works extensively with sustainable materials, and has had her work exhibited extensively throughout Europe and the Americas.

Rikrit Tiravanija. The Land. Artist.
Large scale collaborative and transdisciplinary project in Thailand.

Sim Van der Ryn, Videos on Design and Ecology. Architect's Lecture.
Sim Van der Ryn was a professor of architecture at University of California Berkeley for over 30 years and is a pioneer in sustainable architecture. Hosted at
Design for Life – Part One | Design for Life – Part Two | Ecological Design

Francis Whitehead. Artist.
A printmaker, sculptor and public artist whose work models the complexity of the natural world and re-imagines the role of culture within it.

WochenKlausur. Artist group.
Develops concrete proposals aimed at small, but effective improvements to socio-political deficiencies. They frequently deal with environmental issues.

Wowhaus. Radio Free Market Street. Installation.
Solar-powered micro-radio roving installation.

Mark Yukiw. FireFly. Installation.
Public installation of solar powered lighting sculpture in the Liberty Science Library.

Andrea Zittel. A-Z. Artist.
Multidisciplinary environmental artist in Joshua Tree, CA.

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